This upcoming weekend, Feb. 15-17, Cal Poly’s Western Bonanza Junior Livestock Show will be back at the Paso Robles Event Center celebrating its 35th anniversary.
Western Bonanza, which began as a Cal Poly senior project in 1985, has grown to be the largest student-run livestock show on the West Coast. This year’s event is being put on by a 30-person management team and more than 100 committee members, all of whom are Cal Poly students.
At its inception, Western Bonanza only allowed competitors to show cattle, but since 1985, the event broadened to include four categories of competition: beef, swine, sheep and goats, according to Quincie Gourley, the marketing manager for Western Bonanza.
“It’s incredible to see how a show a student had thought of 35 years ago has grown to be a four-species show and something that is nationally recognized,” Gourley said.
With more than $100,000 in cash prizes and other awards up for grabs, Western Bonanza is expecting to have over 650 exhibitors and upwards of 1,200 livestock, according to the event’s news release. All exhibitors will be between the ages of nine and 21 and will be coming in from all over California and nearby states.
“People are definitely willing to travel to check out the show, because of the amazing judges and the great talent to compete against,” Gourley said. “ Having an award that says Western Bonanza on it means a lot within the industry.”
According to the news release, in addition to the livestock competition there will be a trade show where attendees can browse booths of jewelry and western gear and visit livestock feed vendors. There will also be food vendors throughout the event center.
For those interested in watching, the weekend’s festivities are free to all.